The Village Grill is opening tomorrow with a great new menu, and today people from NPS and DNC were invited to a ‘tasting’, and a chance to take a look at what changes have been made to the menu. Chef Gover, who they have brought in this year to manage the Grill in addition to the Yosemite Lodge Mountain Room and the Food Court, presented a few of the changes that he put into place before we all stood in line for our food. The Grill is the closest source of calories to my desk (excluding the vending machine in the lobby), so I end up eating there fairly often during the summer months. I like absorbing a little sunshine while eating outside on the deck (even if it does frustrate me when people feed the wildlife). So, I’m glad that there seem to be some big new improvements in the menu.
The burgers are bigger and juicier-looking than they were last year. I didn’t actually try a burger, so I can’t personally vouch for the taste, but the others at my table who did all seemed to make impressed ‘yumming’ noises.
I had the new pesto grilled chicken sandwich on a ciabatta roll that comes with sweet-potato fries, and soda from our newly installed Pepsi soda machines (we used to have Coke products – and my co-worker tells me that this is a big deal for some people), and I can tell already that I will be having that combination repeatedly this year. I particularly loved the sweet-potato fries which are so good that I didn’t even want any ketchup with them.
It sounded like they were still making some decisions about the french fries. I think they are leaning toward the crinkle-cut Yukon Gold fries that supposedly absorb substantially less oil – so they are healthier for you, as far as fries go – and give more options than straight-cut fries when it comes to offering seasoned fries or anything like that in the future. It looked like they were also considering some straight fries though, and curly fries and those waffle cut fries that are shaped like potato slices but have a sort of waffle-ish cut. I guess we’re all going to have to wait and see. I think the sweet-potato fries are in though, so I’m celebrating.
There have also been a bunch of changes in terms of process and flow. They are little things, that I bet most people wouldn’t notice – a corral to help manage the line, placement of condiments and soda machines, new grills, re-locating napkin dispensers to the tables so that people are less likely to grab a huge stack of them and then use only 3 or 4, and that kind of thing. It’s a hamburger stand… and yet, I was surprised at the amount of thought and consideration that goes into managing it. You learn new things every day.
The Village Grill is not the only property that is opening in preparation for spring and summer.
- Degnan’s Loft opens Saturday, April 4 (5-9pm daily)
- The Wawona Hotel and the Dining room opens tomorrow (April 3)
- The Yosemite Lodge Bike stand opened March 27, (10am – 5:30pm with a break for lunch) and we’re expecting the Curry Village Bike Stand to open shortly as well
- The Curry Village Pavillion is open for breakfast (7-10am) and dinner (5:30 – 8pm)
- The Coffee Corner is open (7 – 11am)
- The CV Pizza Deck is open (Mon.-Fri. 5-9pm; Sat.-Sun. noon-9pm)
- and don’t forget the CV Bar, open Mon.-Fri. 5-9pm; Sat.-Sun. noon-10pm
Also, near and dear to my heart – the Mountaineering School has now relocated to the Valley again and is open for guided hiking and climbing.
I love the rhythm of the seasons here, and having places open becomes something like watching flowers bloom, or listening to bird song or the cacophony of frogs across the street from Ahwahnee Meadow on my commute.